Reconquista
Overview
 

The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years (539 years in Portugal) in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 broadly known as Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

. The Reconquista of Al-Andalus began soon after the Islamic conquest with the formation of the Kingdom of Asturias
Kingdom of Asturias
The Kingdom of Asturias was a Kingdom in the Iberian peninsula founded in 718 by Visigothic nobles under the leadership of Pelagius of Asturias. It was the first Christian political entity established following the collapse of the Visigothic kingdom after Islamic conquest of Hispania...

 by the Visigoths under the leadership of the nobleman Pelagius.

The Islamic conquest
Umayyad conquest of Hispania
The Umayyad conquest of Hispania is the initial Islamic Ummayad Caliphate's conquest, between 711 and 718, of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania, centered in the Iberian Peninsula, which was known to them under the Arabic name al-Andalus....

 of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom
Visigothic Kingdom
The Visigothic Kingdom was a kingdom which occupied southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula from the 5th to 8th century AD. One of the Germanic successor states to the Western Roman Empire, it was originally created by the settlement of the Visigoths under King Wallia in the province of...

 in the 8th century (begun 711) extended over almost the entire peninsula.
Encyclopedia

The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years (539 years in Portugal) in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 broadly known as Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

. The Reconquista of Al-Andalus began soon after the Islamic conquest with the formation of the Kingdom of Asturias
Kingdom of Asturias
The Kingdom of Asturias was a Kingdom in the Iberian peninsula founded in 718 by Visigothic nobles under the leadership of Pelagius of Asturias. It was the first Christian political entity established following the collapse of the Visigothic kingdom after Islamic conquest of Hispania...

 by the Visigoths under the leadership of the nobleman Pelagius.

The Islamic conquest
Umayyad conquest of Hispania
The Umayyad conquest of Hispania is the initial Islamic Ummayad Caliphate's conquest, between 711 and 718, of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania, centered in the Iberian Peninsula, which was known to them under the Arabic name al-Andalus....

 of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom
Visigothic Kingdom
The Visigothic Kingdom was a kingdom which occupied southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula from the 5th to 8th century AD. One of the Germanic successor states to the Western Roman Empire, it was originally created by the settlement of the Visigoths under King Wallia in the province of...

 in the 8th century (begun 711) extended over almost the entire peninsula. After 500 years, in the 15th century, the last remaining Moorish government was the Nasrid dynasty
Nasrid dynasty
The Nasrid dynasty was the last Moorish and Muslim dynasty in Spain. The Nasrid dynasty rose to power after the defeat of the Almohad Caliphate in 1212 at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa...

 in the Kingdom of Granada in southern Iberia. With its defeat in 1492, the entire Iberian Peninsula was brought back under Christian rule, thus completing the Reconquista.

The Reconquista of Al-Andalus began soon after the Islamic conquest of the Visigothic Kingdom
Visigothic Kingdom
The Visigothic Kingdom was a kingdom which occupied southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula from the 5th to 8th century AD. One of the Germanic successor states to the Western Roman Empire, it was originally created by the settlement of the Visigoths under King Wallia in the province of...

 The victory over the Moors
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 at the Battle of Covadonga
Battle of Covadonga
The Battle of Covadonga was the first major victory by a Christian military force in Iberia following the Muslim Moors' conquest of that region in 711...

 in 722 was a major formative event. Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 (768–814) reconquered the western Pyrenees
Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

 and Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

 and formed a Marca Hispanica
Marca Hispanica
The Marca Hispanica , also known as Spanish March or March of Barcelona was a buffer zone beyond the province of Septimania, created by Charlemagne in 795 as a defensive barrier between the Umayyad Moors of Al-Andalus and the Frankish Kingdom....

 to defend the border between Francia and the Muslims. After the advent of the Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

, much of the ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 of reconquista was subsumed within the wider context of crusading. Even before the Crusades, there was a steady trickle of soldiers arriving from elsewhere in Europe to participate in the Reconquista as an act of Christian penitence. Crusaders arrived in the County of Portugal
County of Portugal
The County of Portugal was the region around Braga and Porto, today corresponding to littoral northern Portugal, from the late ninth to the early twelfth century, during which it was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León.-History:...

, to be led by Afonso Henriques. By 1249, the reconquest of Portugal was complete and the Moors banished.

The Reconquista, being of such great duration, is much more complex than any simple account would allow. Christian and Muslim rulers commonly became divided among themselves and fought. Alliances across faith lines were not unusual. The fighting along the Christian–Muslim frontier was punctuated by periods of prolonged peace and truces. Blurring matters even further were the mercenaries who simply fought for whoever paid the most.

The main phase of the Reconquista was completed by 1249, after the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, known in Arab history as the Battle of Al-Uqab , took place on 16 July 1212 and was an important turning point in the Reconquista and in the medieval history of Spain...

, when the sole remaining Muslim state in Iberia, the Emirate of Granada
Emirate of Granada
The Emirate of Granada , also known as the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada , was an emirate established in 1238 following the defeat of Muhammad an-Nasir of the Almohad dynasty by an alliance of Christian kingdoms at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212...

, became a vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

 state of the Christian Crown of Castile
Crown of Castile
The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

. This arrangement lasted for 250 years until the Castilians launched the Granada War
Granada War
The Granada War was a series of military campaigns between 1482 and 1492, during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, against the Nasrid dynasty's Emirate of Granada...

 of 1492, which finally expelled all Muslim authority from Spain. The last Muslim ruler of Granada, Muhammad XII, better known as King Boabdil, surrendered his kingdom to Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I of Castile
Isabella I was Queen of Castile and León. She and her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to both kingdoms that became the basis for the unification of Spain. Later the two laid the foundations for the political unification of Spain under their grandson, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor...

, who with her husband Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand II of Aragon
Ferdinand the Catholic was King of Aragon , Sicily , Naples , Valencia, Sardinia, and Navarre, Count of Barcelona, jure uxoris King of Castile and then regent of that country also from 1508 to his death, in the name of...

 were known as the Catholic Monarchs
Catholic Monarchs
The Catholic Monarchs is the collective title used in history for Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being both descended from John I of Castile; they were given a papal dispensation to deal with...

 (los Reyes Católicos).

Major dates

  • 711: The Muslim conquest of Iberia begins.
  • 718: Moorish Islamic rule is at its widest extent, covering almost all of the Iberian Peninsula, the Pyrenees, and part of today's southern France.
  • 722:Battle of Covadonga
    Battle of Covadonga
    The Battle of Covadonga was the first major victory by a Christian military force in Iberia following the Muslim Moors' conquest of that region in 711...

     in the north-west of Iberia. The Christian Reconquista begins.
  • 739: Moorish garrison driven out of Galicia by Asturian-Galician forces.
  • 800: The Franks complete the reconquest of all of today's southern French territory and the Pyrenees and establish the Spanish March
    Marca Hispanica
    The Marca Hispanica , also known as Spanish March or March of Barcelona was a buffer zone beyond the province of Septimania, created by Charlemagne in 795 as a defensive barrier between the Umayyad Moors of Al-Andalus and the Frankish Kingdom....

    .
  • 801: The Franks reconquer Barcelona
    Barcelona
    Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

    .
  • 914: Completion of the reconquest of the north-west. Muslims briefly retake Barcelona.
  • 1085: Toledo reconquered by Castilian forces.
  • 1236: Half of Iberia has been reconquered by the Christians. Cadiz seized by Castilian forces attacking from the sea.
  • 1249: King Afonso III of Portugal takes Faro (in the Algarve), ending the Portuguese part of the Reconquista in 1250. The Emirate of Granada remains the only Muslim state in Iberia.
  • 1300s and 1400s: Marinid Muslims seize control of some towns on the southern coast but are soon driven out.
  • 1492: Treaty of Granada completes the Reconquista.

Early Christianity

Arian Christianity
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

, a sect which had been condemned as heretical
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

 by the Catholic Church and largely been eliminated in Europe, found a safe haven in the Iberian peninsula. The Visigoths had traditionally been Arian Christians, and it was the official religion of the Spanish Visigothic Kingdom until the conversion of Visigothic King Reccared I in 587 nominally eliminated it. However, because the Visigothic Monarchy (now Catholic) was detached from the public (Arian), the Arian undercurrent remained.

After a quick succession of battles in the 8th century the Franks created a series of feudal counties which would later form the Principality of Catalonia and the kingdom of Aragon. Possibly the emirate's largest failing was the inability to eradicate resistance of Christians in the Basque country and the Cantabrian mountains. The two resistances (in Basque Navarre and Cantabrian Asturias), despite their extremely small size, demonstrated an ability to maintain independence. The Moors made the same failing as the Visigoths and the early Romans, namely the inability to finish off rebel hideouts.

Because the Umayyad rulers based in Córdoba were unable to extend their power into Frankish territory, they decided to consolidate their power within the Iberian peninsula. Therefore, Muslim forces made periodic incursions into Asturias. Indeed, an earlier attempt to conquer the area might have succeeded, but now the momentum was turning. The prime reasons the Emirate did not invade earlier were that it suffered from poor industrial capacity, and the Umayyads believed the Asturian forces posed a minor threat.

722 saw one of the first Asturian victories. In the late summer, a Muslim army overran much of Pelayo's territory, forcing him to retreat deep into the mountains. Pelayo and a few hundred men retired into a narrow valley at Covadonga. There, they could defend against a broad frontal attack. From here, Pelayo's forces routed the Muslim army, inspiring local villagers to take up arms. Despite further attempts, the Muslims were unable to conquer Pelayo's mountain stronghold. Pelayo's victory at Covadonga
Battle of Covadonga
The Battle of Covadonga was the first major victory by a Christian military force in Iberia following the Muslim Moors' conquest of that region in 711...

 is hailed by some as the first stage of the Reconquista.

During the first decades, Asturian control over the different areas of the kingdom was still weak, and for this reason it had to be continually strengthened through matrimonial alliances with other powerful families from the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Thus, "Ermesinda, Pelayo's daughter, was married to Alfonso, Peter of Cantabria's son. Alphonse's children, Froila and Adosinda, married Munia, a Basque from Alava, and Silo, a local chief from the area of Pravia, respectively." (quote from 'The making of medieval Spain')

After Pelayo's death in 737, his son Fafila was elected king. Fafila, according to the chronicles, was killed by a bear during a trial of courage.

Pelayo's dynasty in Asturias survived for centuries and gradually expanded the kingdom's boundaries until all of northwest Iberia was included by roughly 775. However, credit is due not to him but to his successors. Alfonso I (king from 739-757) managed to conquer Galicia and an area of what was to be Leon. The reign of Alfonso II from (791-842) saw further expansion of the kingdom to the south, almost as far as Lisbon.

It was not until Alfonso II that the kingdom was firmly established with Alfonso's recognition as king of Asturias by Charlemagne and the Pope. During his reign, the holy bones of St. James the Great were declared to have been found in Galicia, at Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrims from all over Europe opened a channel of communication between the isolated Asturias and the Carolingian lands and beyond.

Islamic conquest

From 711 to 756, the Moors (mainly North African Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 warriors) swept over the Iberian Peninsula coming mostly from Morocco across the Strait of Gibraltar
Strait of Gibraltar
The Strait of Gibraltar is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa. The name comes from Gibraltar, which in turn originates from the Arabic Jebel Tariq , albeit the Arab name for the Strait is Bab el-Zakat or...

, conquering nearly all of it and establishing a foothold north of the Pyrenees in Narbonne
Narbonne
Narbonne is a commune in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It lies from Paris in the Aude department, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Once a prosperous port, it is now located about from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea...

. They put down local rebellions and established the Emirate of Córdoba. At no point did the Islamic armies exceed 60,000 men. This launched 800 years of Islamic rule.

Franks invade Al-Andalus

The takeover of Al-Andalus by Abd ar-Rahman I was not unopposed. Certain local wāli
Wali
Walī , is an Arabic word meaning "custodian", "protector", "sponsor", or authority as denoted by its definition "crown". "Wali" is someone who has "Walayah" over somebody else. For example, in Fiqh the father is wali of his children. In Islam, the phrase ولي الله walīyu 'llāh...

s decided to oppose him, but instead of appealing to the distant Caliph, they decided to enlist the Franks, their Christian opponents.

According to Ali ibn al-Athir
Ali ibn al-Athir
Abu al-Hassan Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad, better known as Ali 'Izz al-Din Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari was a Kurdish Muslim historian from the Ibn Athir family...

, a Kurdish historian of the 12th century, Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 received the envoys of Sulayman al-Arabi
Sulayman al-Arabi
Sulayman ibn Yaqzan al-Arabi was Wali of Barcelona and Girona in the year 777.For the history of al-Arabi, we must rely on the Muslim historian Abu al-Hassan Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad , also known as Ali ‘izz ad-Din ibn al-Athir al-Jazari, who wrote four centuries after the fact.According to...

, Husayn, and Abu Taur
Abu Taur of Huesca
Abu Taur was the Wali of Huesca in 777, who joined Sulayman al-Arabi in offer his submission to Charlemagne and collaborated with Frankish forces in the unsuccessful assault on Zaragoza in 778. It has been suggested that he may be identical to Abu Tawr ibn Qasi, son of the eponymous ancestor of...

 at the Diet of Paderborn in 777. These rulers of Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

, Girona
Girona
Girona is a city in the northeast of Catalonia, Spain at the confluence of the rivers Ter, Onyar, Galligants and Güell, with an official population of 96,236 in January 2009. It is the capital of the province of the same name and of the comarca of the Gironès...

, Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, and Huesca
Huesca
Huesca is a city in north-eastern Spain, within the autonomous community of Aragon. It is also the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the comarca of Hoya de Huesca....

 were enemies of Abd ar-Rahman I, and in return for Frankish military aid against him offered their homage and allegiance.

Charlemagne, seeing an opportunity of conquest and annexation of new territories, agreed upon an expedition and crossed the Pyrenees in 778. Near the city of Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

 Charlemagne received the homage of Sulayman al-Arabi
Sulayman al-Arabi
Sulayman ibn Yaqzan al-Arabi was Wali of Barcelona and Girona in the year 777.For the history of al-Arabi, we must rely on the Muslim historian Abu al-Hassan Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad , also known as Ali ‘izz ad-Din ibn al-Athir al-Jazari, who wrote four centuries after the fact.According to...

. However the city, under the leadership of Husayn
Husayn of Zaragoza
Husayn of Zaragoza , Wali of Zaragoza, which is now the Spanish province of Aragón, from 774 to 781.-Events during the rule of Husayn:...

, closed its gates and refused to submit. Unable to conquer the city by force, Charlemagne decided to retreat. On the way home the rearguard of the army was ambushed and destroyed at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass
Battle of Roncevaux Pass
The Battle of Roncevaux Pass was a battle in 778 in which Roland, prefect of the Breton March and commander of the rear guard of Charlemagne's army, was defeated by the Basques...

. The Song of Roland
The Song of Roland
The Song of Roland is the oldest surviving major work of French literature. It exists in various manuscript versions which testify to its enormous and enduring popularity in the 12th to 14th centuries...

, a highly romanticized account of this battle, would later become one of the most famous chansons de geste
Chanson de geste
The chansons de geste, Old French for "songs of heroic deeds", are the epic poems that appear at the dawn of French literature. The earliest known examples date from the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, nearly a hundred years before the emergence of the lyric poetry of the trouvères and...

 of the Middle Ages.

Charlemagne decided to organize a regional subkingdom in order to secure the southern border of his Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire
Carolingian Empire is a historiographical term which has been used to refer to the realm of the Franks under the Carolingian dynasty in the Early Middle Ages. This dynasty is seen as the founders of France and Germany, and its beginning date is based on the crowning of Charlemagne, or Charles the...

. In 781 his three year-old son Louis
Louis the Pious
Louis the Pious , also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813...

 was crowned king of Aquitaine
Aquitaine
Aquitaine , archaic Guyenne/Guienne , is one of the 27 regions of France, in the south-western part of metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It comprises the 5 departments of Dordogne, :Lot et Garonne, :Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes...

 and was nominally in charge of Spanish March.

Around 788 Abd ar-Rahman I died, and was succeeded by Hisham I. In 792 Hisham proclaimed a jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

, advancing in 793 against the Kingdom of Asturias
Kingdom of Asturias
The Kingdom of Asturias was a Kingdom in the Iberian peninsula founded in 718 by Visigothic nobles under the leadership of Pelagius of Asturias. It was the first Christian political entity established following the collapse of the Visigothic kingdom after Islamic conquest of Hispania...

 and the Franks. In the end his efforts were turned back by William of Gellone
William of Gellone
Saint William of Gellone was the second Count of Toulouse from 790 until his replacement in 811. His Occitan name is Guilhem, and he is known in French as Guillaume d'Orange, Guillaume Fierabrace, and the Marquis au court nez.He is the hero of the Chanson de Guillaume, an early chanson de geste,...

, Count of Toulouse.

Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, a major city, became a potential target for the Franks in 797, as its governor Zeid rebelled against the Umayyad emir of Córdoba. An army of the emir managed to recapture it in 799 but Louis, at the head of an army, crossed the Pyrenees and besieged the city for two years until the city finally capitulated on December 28, 801.

The main passes were Roncesvalles
Roncesvalles
Roncesvalles is a small village and municipality in Navarre, northern Spain. It is situated on the small river Urrobi at an altitude of some 900 metres in the Pyrenees, about 8 kilometres from the French frontier....

, Somport
Somport
Somport is a mountain pass in the central Pyrenees on the border of France and Spain. The pass, whose name is derived from the Latin Summus portus, was one of the most popular routes for crossing the mountains for soldiers, merchants, and St...

 and Junquera. Charlemagne established in them the counties of Pamplona
Pamplona
Pamplona is the historial capital city of Navarre, in Spain, and of the former kingdom of Navarre.The city is famous worldwide for the San Fermín festival, from July 6 to 14, in which the running of the bulls is one of the main attractions...

, Aragon
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

 and Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 (which was itself formed from a number of small counties, Pallars
County of Pallars
The County of Pallars or Pallás was a de facto independent petty state, nominally within the Carolingian Empire and then West Francia during the ninth and tenth centuries, perhaps one of the Catalan counties, originally part of the Marca Hispanica in the ninth century...

, Gerona
Girona (province)
Girona is a province of north-eastern Spain, in the northern part of the autonomous community of Catalonia. It is bordered by the provinces of Barcelona and Lleida, and by France and the Mediterranean Sea....

, and Urgell
Urgell
The County of Urgell is one of the historical Catalan counties, bordering on the counties of Pallars and Cerdanya.The county was carved by the Franks out of a former section of the Mark of Toulouse when the Alt Urgell area became part of the Carolingian Empire between 785 and 790.The original...

 being the most prominent) respectively.

Four states appeared: the kingdom of Pamplona (later known as Navarre
Navarre
Navarre , officially the Chartered Community of Navarre is an autonomous community in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Country, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Aquitaine in France...

) and the counties of Aragon
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

, Sobrarbe
Sobrarbe
Sobrarbe is one of the Comarcas of Aragon, Spain. It is located in the northern part of the province of Huesca, part of the autonomous community of Aragon in Spain...

 and Ribagorza. Navarre emerged as a kingdom around Pamplona, its capital, and controlled Roncesvalles pass. Its first king was Iñigo Arista. He expanded his domains up to the Bay of Biscay
Bay of Biscay
The Bay of Biscay is a gulf of the northeast Atlantic Ocean located south of the Celtic Sea. It lies along the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Cape Ortegal, and is named in English after the province of Biscay, in the Spanish...

 and conquered a small number of towns beyond the Pyrenees, but never directly attacked the Carolingian armies, as he was in theory their vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

. It was not until Queen Ximena in the 9th century that Pamplona was officially recognised as an independent kingdom by the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

. Aragon, founded in 809 by Aznar Galíndez, grew around Jaca and the high valleys of the Aragon River
Aragón River
The River Aragón is one of the left-hand tributaries of the river Ebro. It starts at Astún , passes through Jaca and Sangüesa , and joins the Ebro at Milagro , near Tudela....

, protecting the old Roman road. By the end of the 10th century, Aragon was annexed by Navarre. Sobrarbe and Ribagorza were small counties and had little significance to the progress of the Reconquista.

The Catalan counties
Catalan counties
The Catalan counties were the administrative divisions of the eastern Carolingian Marca Hispanica created after its Frankish conquest. The various counties roughly defined what came to be known as the Principality of Catalonia....

 protected the eastern Pyrenees passes and shores. They were under the direct control of the Frankish kings and were the last remains of the Iberian Marches. Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 included not only the southern Pyrenees counties of Girona, Pallars, Urgell, Vic
Vic
Vic is the capital of the comarca of Osona, in the Barcelona Province, Catalonia, Spain. Vic's location, only 69 km far from Barcelona and 60 km from Girona, has made it one of the most important towns in central Catalonia.-History:...

 and Andorra
Andorra
Andorra , officially the Principality of Andorra , also called the Principality of the Valleys of Andorra, , is a small landlocked country in southwestern Europe, located in the eastern Pyrenees mountains and bordered by Spain and France. It is the sixth smallest nation in Europe having an area of...

 but also some which were on the northern side of the mountains, such as Perpignan
Perpignan
-Sport:Perpignan is a rugby stronghold: their rugby union side, USA Perpignan, is a regular competitor in the Heineken Cup and seven times champion of the Top 14 , while their rugby league side plays in the engage Super League under the name Catalans Dragons.-Culture:Since 2004, every year in the...

 and Foix
Foix
Foix is a commune, the capital of the Ariège department in southwestern France. It is the least populous administrative centre of a department in all of France, although it is only very slightly smaller than Privas...

.

In the late 9th century under Count Wilfred, Barcelona became the de facto capital of the region. It controlled the other counties' policies in a union, which led in 948 to the independence of Barcelona under Count Borrel II
Borrell II, Count of Barcelona
Borrell II was Count of Barcelona, Girona, and Ausona from 945 and Count of Urgell from 948.Borrell is first seen acting as count during the reign of his father Marquis Sunyer in 945 at the consecration of the nunnery church of Sant Pere de les Puelles in Barcelona, and succeeded Sunyer along with...

, who declared that the new dynasty in France (the Capets) were not the legitimate rulers of France nor, as a result, of his county.

These states were small and with the exception of Navarre did not have the same capacity for expansion as Asturias
Asturias
The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain, coextensive with the former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages...

 had. Their mountainous geography rendered them relatively safe from attack but also made launching attacks against a united and strong Al-Andalus impractical. In consequence, these states' borders remained stable for two centuries.

Islamic rule

After the establishment of a local Emirate
Emirate
An emirate is a political territory that is ruled by a dynastic Muslim monarch styled emir.-Etymology:Etymologically emirate or amirate is the quality, dignity, office or territorial competence of any emir ....

, Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 Al-Walid I, ruler of the Umayyad caliphate
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

, removed many of the successful Muslim commanders. Tariq ibn Ziyad, the first governor of the newly conquered province of Al-Andalus, was recalled to Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 and replaced with Musa bin Nusair, who had been his former superior. Musa's son, Abd al-Aziz ibn Musa, apparently married Egilona
Egilona
Egilona was the wife of the last Visigothic King Roderic in the early years of the 8th Century during the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula. When he died in the Battle of Guadalete she was captured by the Moorish leader Abd al-Aziz ibn Musa...

, Roderic
Roderic
Ruderic was the Visigothic King of Hispania for a brief period between 710 and 712. He is famous in legend as "the last king of the Goths"...

's widow, and established his regional government in Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

. He was suspected of being under the influence of his wife, accused of wanting to convert to Christianity, and of planning a secessionist rebellion. Apparently a concerned Al-Walid I ordered Abd al-Aziz's assassination. Caliph Al-Walid I died in 715 and was succeeded by his brother Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik
Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik
Sulayman bin Abd al-Malik was an Umayyad caliph who ruled from 715 until 717. His father was Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, and he was a younger brother of the previous caliph, al-Walid I.-Early years:...

. Sulayman seems to have punished the surviving Musa bin Nusair, who very soon died during a pilgrimage in 716. In the end Abd al-Aziz ibn Musa's cousin, Ayyub ibn Habib al-Lakhmi
Ayyub ibn Habib al-Lakhmi
Ayyub ibn Habib al-Lakhmi he was the 5th Umayyad Governor of Al-Andalus who succeeded his cousin Abd al-Aziz ibn Musa.He ruled for only 6 months,he moved to Cordoba and made it the Capital of Muslim Iberia instead of Toledo...

 became the emir of Al-Andalus.

The conquering generals were necessarily acting very independently, due to deficient methods of communication. Successful generals in the field — and in a very distant province to boot — would also quickly gain the loyalty of their officers and warriors and their ambitions were probably always watched by certain circles of the distant government with a certain degree of concern and suspicion. Old rivalries and perhaps even full-fledged conspiracies between rival generals may have had influence over this development. In the end, the old successful generals were replaced by a younger generation considered more loyal by the government in Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

.

There was a serious weakness among the Muslim conquerors. Ethnic tensions existed between the Berbers
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 and the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s. The Berbers were the indigenous inhabitants of North Africa who had been recently converted to Islam and had provided the bulk of the manpower for the invading Islamic armies. However they felt the Arabs discriminated against them. This latent internal conflict would jeopardize Muslim unity.

After the Islamic Moorish conquest of the majority of the Iberian Peninsula in 711 Arian Christianity
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 was devastated. The Moorish success and establishment of Al-Andalus left the Visigothic kingdom stuck between Moors in the south and the Carolingian empire (Franks) in the north, which led to the quick destruction of the last remaining Visigothic province in the north of the peninsula at the hands of the Franks. The emirate chose to press forward into Gaul. At the Battle of Tours
Battle of Tours
The Battle of Tours , also called the Battle of Poitiers and in Battle of the Court of the Martyrs, was fought in an area between the cities of Poitiers and Tours, located in north-central France, near the village of Moussais-la-Bataille, about northeast of Poitiers...

 in 732 the Moors were defeated. This was the high water mark of the Islamic conquests in Europe and the expansion of Al-Andalus. A slow decline in the Moorish reach, taking eight centuries, began.

Military culture in medieval Iberia

In a situation of constant conflict, warfare and daily life were strongly interlinked during this period. Small, lightly equipped armies reflected how the society had to be on the alert at all times. These forces were capable of moving long distances in short times, allowing a quick return home after sacking a target. Battles which took place were mainly between clans, expelling intruder armies or sacking expeditions.

The cultural context of the Christian Kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula was different than that of the rest of Continental Europe in the Middle Ages, due to contact with the Moorish culture and the isolation provided by the Pyrenees. These cultural differences implied the use of doctrines, equipment, and tactics markedly different from those found in the rest of Europe during this period.

Medieval Iberian armies mainly comprised two types of forces: cavalry (mostly nobles, but including commoner knights from 10th century on) and infantry, or peones (peasants). Infantry only went to war if needed, which was not common.

Iberian cavalry tactics
Cavalry tactics
For much of history , humans have used some form of cavalry for war. Cavalry tactics have evolved over time...

 involved knights approaching the enemy and throwing javelin
Javelin
A Javelin is a light spear intended for throwing. It is commonly known from the modern athletic discipline, the Javelin throw.Javelin may also refer to:-Aviation:* ATG Javelin, an American-Israeli civil jet aircraft, under development...

s, before withdrawing to a safe distance before commencing another assault. Once the enemy formation was sufficiently weakened, the knights charged with thrusting spear
Spear
A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head.The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with bamboo spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as flint, obsidian, iron, steel or...

s (lance
Lance
A Lance is a pole weapon or spear designed to be used by a mounted warrior. The lance is longer, stout and heavier than an infantry spear, and unsuited for throwing, or for rapid thrusting. Lances did not have tips designed to intentionally break off or bend, unlike many throwing weapons of the...

s did not arrive in Hispania until the 11th century). There were three types of knights: royal knights, noble knights (caballeros hidalgos) and commoner knights (caballeros villanos). Royal knights were mainly nobles with a close relationship with the king, and thus claimed a direct Gothic inheritance. Royal knights were equipped in the same manner as their Gothic
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 predecessors — braceplate, kite shield, a long sword
Sword
A sword is a bladed weapon used primarily for cutting or thrusting. The precise definition of the term varies with the historical epoch or the geographical region under consideration...

 (designed to fight from the horse) and as well as the javelins and spears, a Visigothic axe
Francisca
The francisca is a throwing axe used as a weapon during the Early Middle Ages by the Franks, among whom it was a characteristic national weapon at the time of the Merovingians from about 500 to 750 AD and is known to have been used during the reign of Charlemagne .Although generally associated...

. Noble knights came from the ranks of the infanzones or lower nobles, whereas the commoner knights were not noble, but were wealthy enough to afford a horse. Uniquely in Europe, these horsemen comprised a militia cavalry force with no feudal links, being under the sole control of the king or the count of Castile
Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It emerged as a political autonomous entity in the 9th century. It was called County of Castile and was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region...

 because of the "charter
Charter
A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified...

s" (or fueros). See "Repopulating Hispania — the origin of fueros", below. Both noble and common knights wore leather armour and carried javelins, spears and round-tasselled shields (influenced by Moorish shields), as well as a sword.

The peones were peasants who went to battle in service of their feudal lord. Poorly equipped, with bows and arrows, spears and short swords, they were mainly used as auxiliary troops. Their function in battle was to contain the enemy troops until the cavalry arrived and to block the enemy infantry from charging the knights.

Typically armour was made of leather, with iron scales; full coats of chain mail
Chain Mail
"Chain Mail" is a single by Mancunian band James, released in March 1986 by Sire Records, the first after the band defected from Factory Records. The record was released in two different versions, as 7" single and 12" EP, with different artworks by John Carroll and, confusingly, under different...

 were extremely rare and horse barding
Barding
Barding is armour for horses. During the late Middle Ages as armour protection for knights became more effective, their mounts became targets...

 completely unknown. Head protections consisted of a round helmet with nose protector (influenced by the designs used by Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

s who attacked during the 8th and 9th centuries) and a chain mail headpiece. Shields were often round or kidney-shaped, except for the kite-shaped designs used by the royal knights. Usually adorned with geometric designs, crosses or tassels, shields were made out of wood and had a leather cover.

Steel swords were the most common weapon. The cavalry used long double-edged swords and the infantry short, single-edged ones. Guards were either semicircular or straight, but always highly ornamented with geometrical patterns. The spears and javelins were up to 1.5 metres long and had an iron tip. The double-axe, made of iron and 30 cm long and possessing an extremely sharp edge, was designed to be equally useful as a thrown weapon or in close combat. Maces and hammers were not common, but some specimens have remained, and are thought to have been used by members of the cavalry.

Finally, mercenaries were an important factor, as many kings did not have enough soldiers available. Norsemen
Norsemen
Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who spoke what is now called the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms.The meaning of Norseman was "people...

, Flemish spearmen, Frankish knights, Moorish mounted archers and Berber light cavalry were the main types of mercenary available and used in the conflict.

This style of warfare remained dominant in the Iberian Peninsula until the late 11th century, when couched lance tactics entered from France and replaced the traditional horse javelin-shot techniques. In the 12th and 13th centuries, soldiers typically carried a sword, a lance, a javelin, and either bow and arrows or crossbow and darts. Armor consisted of a coat of mail over a quilted jacket, extending at least to the knees, a helmet or iron cap, and braces protecting the arms and thighs, either metal or leather. Shields were round or triangular, made of wood, covered with leather, and protected by an iron band; the shields of knights and nobles would bear the family's coat of arms. Knights rode in both the Muslim style, a la jineta (i.e. the equivalent of a modern jockey's seat), a short stirrup strap and bended knees allowed for better control and speed, or in the French style, a la brida, a long stirrup strap allowed for more security in the saddle (i.e. the equivalent of the modern cavalry seat, which is more secure). Horses were occasionally fitted with a coat of mail as well.

Beginning the Reconquista

Around 718 Pelagius (or Pelayo in modern Spanish), a Visigothic noble, began a rebellion against Munuza
Munuza
Uthman ibn Naissa better known as Munuza was the Moorish governor of northern Iberia in the early 8th century. He was subject to the Wāli of Al-Andalus, Anbasa ibn Suhaym Al-Kalbi. He was defeated in the Battle of Covadonga and killed by Pelayo of Asturias at the beginning of the Reconquista...

, a local Muslim governor. One of his most important allies was Duke Pedro of Cantabria
Peter of Cantabria
Peter was the Duke of Cantabria. While various writers have attempted to name his parentage, , early sources say nothing more specific than the chronicle of 'Pseudo-Alfonso': that he was "ex semine Leuvigildi et Reccaredi progenitus"...

.

The main part of the Moorish forces was off invading southern France; under the command of Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani
Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani
Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani was the Arab governor general of the Muslim occupied region of the Iberian Peninsula called Al-Andalus from between 718 and 721.He led a Muslim incursion into southern France in the early part of the 8th century...

, emir of Al-Andalus, it had crossed the Pyrenees and overrun Septimania
Septimania
Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigoths in 462, when Septimania was ceded to their king, Theodoric II. Under the Visigoths it was known as simply Gallia or Narbonensis. It corresponded roughly with the modern...

. This invasion was defeated in 721 by Odo the Great, the Duke of Aquitaine
Duke of Aquitaine
The Duke of Aquitaine ruled the historical region of Aquitaine under the supremacy of Frankish, English and later French kings....

, in the Battle of Toulouse
Battle of Toulouse (721)
The Battle of Toulouse was a victory of an Aquitanian army led by Duke Odo of Aquitaine over an Umayyad army besieging the city of Toulouse, and led by the governor of Al-Andalus, Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani...

, and the commander Al-Samh was mortally wounded.

A drastic increase of taxes by the new emir Anbasa ibn Suhaym Al-Kalbi
Anbasa ibn Suhaym Al-Kalbi
Anbasa ibn Suhaym al-Kalbi was the Muslim wali of al-Andalus, also known as Moorish Hispania, from 721 to 726 CE....

 provoked several rebellions in Al-Andalus, which a series of succeeding weak emirs were unable to suppress. Around 722 a military expedition was sent into the north to suppress Pelayo's rebellion, but his forces prevailed in the Battle of Covadonga
Battle of Covadonga
The Battle of Covadonga was the first major victory by a Christian military force in Iberia following the Muslim Moors' conquest of that region in 711...

.
  • This battle, at the time probably considered little more than a skirmish, would be considered by later Christian historians as the starting point of the Reconquista. Pelayo's victory secured his independent rule over the local area. The date and circumstances of this battle are very unclear. Among the possibilities are that the rebellion of Pelayo unfolded precisely because the greater part of the Muslim forces were gathering for the invasion of France, that it unfolded during this invasion, or even a bit later as the battered and weakened expedition returned and all available garrisons and reinforcements were probably recalled to bolster the army for a reinvasion.


Meanwhile Odo had married his daughter to Uthman ibn Naissa, a Berber and the Wāli
Wali
Walī , is an Arabic word meaning "custodian", "protector", "sponsor", or authority as denoted by its definition "crown". "Wali" is someone who has "Walayah" over somebody else. For example, in Fiqh the father is wali of his children. In Islam, the phrase ولي الله walīyu 'llāh...

 - deputy governor of Septimania, fostering yet another rebellion. However, a major punitive expedition
Punitive expedition
A punitive expedition is a military journey undertaken to punish a state or any group of persons outside the borders of the punishing state. It is usually undertaken in response to perceived disobedient or morally wrong behavior, but may be also be a covered revenge...

 led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi
Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi
Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi , also known as Abd er Rahman, Abdderrahman, Abderame, and Abd el-Rahman, led the Andalusian Muslims into battle against the forces of Charles Martel in the Battle of Tours on October 10, 732 AD. for which he is primarily remembered in the West...

, the latest emir of Al-Andalus, defeated and killed Uthman. Abdul Rahman later managed to defeat Odo in the Battle of the River Garonne
Battle of the River Garonne
The Battle of the River Garonne was fought in 732 between an Umayyad army led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, governor of Al-Andalus, and Frankish forces led by Duke Odo of Aquitaine....

 in 732. A desperate Odo turned to his rival Charles Martel
Charles Martel
Charles Martel , also known as Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the...

, who decisively beat the Muslims at the Battle of Tours
Battle of Tours
The Battle of Tours , also called the Battle of Poitiers and in Battle of the Court of the Martyrs, was fought in an area between the cities of Poitiers and Tours, located in north-central France, near the village of Moussais-la-Bataille, about northeast of Poitiers...

 in 732, killing Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi.

Meanwhile Pelayo began raiding the city of León
León, Spain
León is the capital of the province of León in the autonomous community of Castile and León, situated in the northwest of Spain. Its city population of 136,985 makes it the largest municipality in the province, accounting for more than one quarter of the province's population...

, the main city in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. He was crowned king and successfully established the small Kingdom of Asturias
Kingdom of Asturias
The Kingdom of Asturias was a Kingdom in the Iberian peninsula founded in 718 by Visigothic nobles under the leadership of Pelagius of Asturias. It was the first Christian political entity established following the collapse of the Visigothic kingdom after Islamic conquest of Hispania...

. He also established a royal dynasty, marrying his son and heir Favila
Favila of Asturias
Fafila, Favila, or Favilac was the second King of Asturias from 737 until his death. He was the only son and successor of Pelagius, the first Asturian monarch. In 737 he founded the church of Santa Cruz, probably in his capital of Cangas de Onís, but aside from this, nothing else about his reign...

 to Duke Pedro's daughter.

Expansion into the Crusades and military orders

In the High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages was the period of European history around the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries . The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500....

, the fight against the Moors in the Iberian Peninsula became linked to the fight of the whole of Christendom
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

. The Reconquista was originally a mere war of conquest. It only later underwent a significant shift in meaning toward a religiously justified war of liberation (see the Augustinian concept of a Just War
Just War
Just war theory is a doctrine of military ethics of Roman philosophical and Catholic origin, studied by moral theologians, ethicists and international policy makers, which holds that a conflict ought to meet philosophical, religious or political criteria.-Origins:The concept of justification for...

). The papacy and the influential Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy not only justified the acts of war but actively encouraged Christian knights to seek armed confrontation with Moorish "infidels" instead of with each other. From the 11th century onwards indulgences were granted: In 1064 Pope Alexander II
Pope Alexander II
Pope Alexander II , born Anselmo da Baggio, was Pope from 1061 to 1073.He was born in Milan. As bishop of Lucca he had been an energetic coadjutor with Hildebrand of Sovana in endeavouring to suppress simony, and to enforce the celibacy of the clergy...

 allegedly promised the participants of an expedition against Barbastro
War of Barbastro
The War of Barbastro was an international expedition, sanctioned by Pope Alexander II, to take the Spanish city of Barbastro from the Moors. A large army composed of elements from all over Western Europe took part in the successful siege of the city...

 (Tagr al-Andalus, Aragon) a collective indulgence 30 years before Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II , born Otho de Lagery , was Pope from 12 March 1088 until his death on July 29 1099...

 called the First Crusade
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

. The legitimacy of such a letter establishing a grant of indulgence has been disputed at length by historians, notably by Ferreiro. Papal interest in Christio-Muslim relations in the peninsular are not without precedent - Popes Leo IV (847-855), John VIII (872-882) and John XIX (1024–33) are all known to have displayed substantial interest in the region. Whilst there is little evidence to invalidate the letter as a whole, both the recipient(s) of the letter and whether such a letter actually nominates Barbastro as the first 'crusade' are still a matter of dispute. Neither is there evidence to support the contention that the Cluniacs publicised the letter throughout Europe. It was addressed to the clero Vulturnensi. The name has been associated with the castle of Volturno in Campania but even this is not concrete. Baldwin, for example, stipulates that the name is simply "garbled" and that it was intended for a French bishopric. Not until 1095 and the Council of Clermont
Council of Clermont
The Council of Clermont was a mixed synod of ecclesiastics and laymen of the Catholic Church, which was held from November 18 to November 28, 1095 at Clermont, France...

 did the Reconquista amalgamate the conflicting concepts of a peaceful pilgrimage and armed knight-errantry.

But the papacy left no doubt about the heavenly reward for knights fighting for Christ (militia Christi): in a letter, Urban II tried to persuade the reconquistadores fighting at Tarragona
Tarragona
Tarragona is a city located in the south of Catalonia on the north-east of Spain, by the Mediterranean. It is the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the capital of the Catalan comarca Tarragonès. In the medieval and modern times it was the capital of the Vegueria of Tarragona...

 to stay in the Peninsula and not to join the armed pilgrimage to conquer Jerusalem since their contribution for Christianity was equally important. The pope promised them the same rewarding indulgence that awaited the first crusaders.

Later military order
Military order
A military order is a Christian society of knights that was founded for crusading, i.e. propagating or defending the faith , either in the Holy Land or against Islam or pagans in Europe...

s like the Order of Santiago
Order of Santiago
The Order of Santiago was founded in the 12th century, and owes its name to the national patron of Galicia and Spain, Santiago , under whose banner the Christians of Galicia and Asturias began in the 9th century to combat and drive back the Muslims of the Iberian Peninsula.-History:Santiago de...

, Montesa
Order of Montesa
The Order of Montesa is a Christian military order, territorially limited to the Kingdom of Aragon.-Templar background:The Templars had been received with enthusiasm in Aragon from their foundation in 1128...

, Order of Calatrava
Order of Calatrava
The Order of Calatrava was the first military order founded in Castile, but the second to receive papal approval. The papal bull confirming the Order of Calatrava as a Militia was given by Pope Alexander III on September 26, 1164.-Origins and Foundation:...

 and the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 were founded or called to fight in Iberia. The Popes called the knights of Europe to the Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 in the peninsula. After the so called Disaster of Alarcos
Battle of Alarcos
Battle of Alarcos , was a battle between the Almohads led by Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur and King Alfonso VIII of Castile. It resulted in the defeat of the Castilian forces and their subsequent retreat to Toledo whereas the Almohads conquered back Trujillo, Montánchez and Talavera.-Background:In...

, French, Navarrese, Castilian, Portuguese and Aragonese armies united against the Muslim forces in the massive battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, known in Arab history as the Battle of Al-Uqab , took place on 16 July 1212 and was an important turning point in the Reconquista and in the medieval history of Spain...

(1212).
The big territories awarded to military orders and nobles were the origin of the latifundia
Latifundia
Latifundia are pieces of property covering very large land areas. The latifundia of Roman history were great landed estates, specializing in agriculture destined for export: grain, olive oil, or wine...

 in today's Andalusia
Andalusia
Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities of Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and...

 and Extremadura
Extremadura
Extremadura is an autonomous community of western Spain whose capital city is Mérida. Its component provinces are Cáceres and Badajoz. It is bordered by Portugal to the west...

, in Spain, and Alentejo, in Portugal.

Northern Christian kingdoms

Kingdom of Asturias

The Kingdom of Asturias was located in the Cantabrian Mountains
Cantabrian Mountains
The Cantabrian Mountains or Cantabrian Range are one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain.They extend for more than approximately 180 miles across northern Spain, from the western limit of the Pyrenees to the edges of the Galician Massif close to Galicia, along the coast of the...

, a wet and mountainous region in the north of the Iberian Peninsula.

By the end of the 15th century there had been a myriad of Christian autonomous kingdoms and principalities. The first Christian power was Asturias. The kingdom was established by a nobleman, Pelayo, who had returned to his country after the Battle of Guadalete in 711 where he was elected leader of the Asturians and founded the Kingdom of Asturias
Kingdom of Asturias
The Kingdom of Asturias was a Kingdom in the Iberian peninsula founded in 718 by Visigothic nobles under the leadership of Pelagius of Asturias. It was the first Christian political entity established following the collapse of the Visigothic kingdom after Islamic conquest of Hispania...

. However, Pelayo's kingdom initially was little more than a gathering point for the existing guerilla forces. During the first decades ,the Asturian dominion over the different areas of the kingdom was still lax, and for this reason it had to be continually strengthened through matrimonial alliances with other powerful families from the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Thus, Ermesinda, Pelayo's daughter, was married to Alfonso
Alfonso I of Asturias
Alfonso I , called the Catholic , was the King of Asturias from 739 to his death in 757.He was son of Duke Peter of Cantabria and held many lands in that region. He may have been the hereditary chief of the Basques, but this is uncertain...

, Dux Peter of Cantabria
Duchy of Cantabria
The Duchy of Cantabria was a march created by the Visigoths in northern Spain to watch their border with the Cantabrians and Basques. Its precise extension is unclear but seems likely that it included Cantabria, parts of Northern Castile and La Rioja....

's son. Alphonse's son Fruela
Fruela I of Asturias
Fruela I , called the Cruel, was the King of Asturias from 757 until his death, when he was assassinated. He was the eldest son of Alfonso I and continued the work of his father....

 married Munia, a Basque princess from Alava, while his daughter Adosinda married Silo, a local chief from the area of Flavionavia, Pravia.

During the reign of King Alfonso II
Alfonso II of Asturias
Alfonso II , called the Chaste, was the king of Asturias from 791 to his death, the son of Fruela I and the Basque Munia.He was born in Oviedo in 759 or 760. He was put under the guardianship of his aunt Adosinda after his father's death, but one tradition relates his being put in the monastery of...

 (791–842), the kingdom was firmly established. He is believed to have initiated diplomatic contacts with the kings of Pamplona
Pamplona
Pamplona is the historial capital city of Navarre, in Spain, and of the former kingdom of Navarre.The city is famous worldwide for the San Fermín festival, from July 6 to 14, in which the running of the bulls is one of the main attractions...

 and the Carolingian
Carolingian
The Carolingian dynasty was a Frankish noble family with origins in the Arnulfing and Pippinid clans of the 7th century AD. The name "Carolingian", Medieval Latin karolingi, an altered form of an unattested Old High German *karling, kerling The Carolingian dynasty (known variously as the...

s, thereby gaining official recognition of his crown from the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 and Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

. Alfonso II also expanded his realm westwards conquering Galicia. There, the bones
Relic
In religion, a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a tangible memorial...

 of St. James the Great were proclaimed to have been found in Compostela
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain.The city's Cathedral is the destination today, as it has been throughout history, of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James...

 (from Latin campus stellae, literally "the star field") inside Galicia. Pilgrims came from all over Europe creating the Way of Saint James, a major pilgrimage route linking the Asturias with the rest of Christian Europe.

Alfonso's military strategy consisted of raiding the border regions of Vardulia (which would turn into the Castile
Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It emerged as a political autonomous entity in the 9th century. It was called County of Castile and was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region...

). With the plunder gained further military forces could be paid, enabling him to raid the Moorish cities of Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

, Zamora, and Coimbra
Coimbra
Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the...

. For centuries the focus of these actions was not conquest but raids, plunder, pillage and tribute
Tribute
A tribute is wealth, often in kind, that one party gives to another as a sign of respect or, as was often the case in historical contexts, of submission or allegiance. Various ancient states, which could be called suzerains, exacted tribute from areas they had conquered or threatened to conquer...

. He also crushed a Basque uprising, during which he captured the Alavite
Álava
Álava is a province of Spain and a historical territory of the Basque Country, heir of the ancient Lord of Álava. Its capital city is Vitoria-Gasteiz which is also the capital of the autonomous community...

 Munia; their grandson is reported to be Alfonso II
Alfonso II of Asturias
Alfonso II , called the Chaste, was the king of Asturias from 791 to his death, the son of Fruela I and the Basque Munia.He was born in Oviedo in 759 or 760. He was put under the guardianship of his aunt Adosinda after his father's death, but one tradition relates his being put in the monastery of...

.

During Alfonso II's reign a series of Muslim raids caused the transfer of Asturian capital to Oviedo
Oviedo
Oviedo is the capital city of the Principality of Asturias in northern Spain. It is also the name of the municipality that contains the city....

.

Despite numerous battles the populations of neither the Umayyads — using the southern part of old Gallaecia
Gallaecia
Gallaecia or Callaecia, also known as Hispania Gallaecia, was the name of a Roman province and an early Mediaeval kingdom that comprised a territory in the north-west of Hispania...

 (today's northern Portugal) as their base of operations — nor that of the Asturians, was sufficient to effect an occupation of these northern territories. Under the reign of Ramiro
Ramiro I of Asturias
Ramiro I was King of Asturias from 842 until his death. Son of Bermudo I, he succeeded Alfonso II.First, he had to deal with the usurper Nepocian, defeating him at the Battle of the Bridge of Cornellana, by the river Narcea. Ramiro then removed the system of election which allowed his family to be...

, famed for the legendary Battle of Clavijo
Battle of Clavijo
The Battle of Clavijo was a legendary battle, supposedly fought in 844 near Clavijo between the Christians led by Ramiro I of Asturias and the Muslims led by the Emir of Córdoba. Saint James the Great, known to Spaniards as Santiago Matamoros , is reputed to have aided the vastly outnumbered...

, the border began to slowly move southward and Asturian holdings in Castile
Castile (historical region)
A former kingdom, Castile gradually merged with its neighbours to become the Crown of Castile and later the Kingdom of Spain when united with the Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Navarre...

, Galicia, and León
León (province)
León is a province of northwestern Spain, in the northwestern part of the autonomous community of Castile and León.About one quarter of its population of 500,200 lives in the capital, León. The weather is cold and dry during the winter....

 were fortified and an intensive programme of repopulation of the countryside begun in those territories. In 924 the Kingdom of Asturias became the Kingdom of León
Kingdom of León
The Kingdom of León was an independent kingdom situated in the northwest region of the Iberian Peninsula. It was founded in AD 910 when the Christian princes of Asturias along the northern coast of the peninsula shifted their capital from Oviedo to the city of León...

.

Kingdoms of León and Galicia

Alfonso III of Asturias repopulated the strategically important city León and established it as his capital. From his new capital, King Alfonso began a series of campaigns to establish control over all the lands north of the Douro. He reorganized his territories into the major duchies (Galicia and Portugal) and major counties (Saldaña
Saldaña, Palencia
Saldaña is the principal town of the fertile Palencia plains in Spain, and may be the town of "Eldana" mentioned by the historian Ptolemy as being conquered by the Roman Empire....

 and Castile), and fortified the borders with many castles. At his death in 910 the shift in regional power was completed as the kingdom became the Kingdom of León
Kingdom of León
The Kingdom of León was an independent kingdom situated in the northwest region of the Iberian Peninsula. It was founded in AD 910 when the Christian princes of Asturias along the northern coast of the peninsula shifted their capital from Oviedo to the city of León...

. From this power base, his heir Ordoño II was able to organize attacks against Toledo
Toledo, Spain
Toledo's Alcázar became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.-Economy:...

 and even Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

. The Caliphate of Córdoba
Caliphate of Córdoba
The Caliphate of Córdoba ruled the Iberian peninsula and part of North Africa, from the city of Córdoba, from 929 to 1031. This period was characterized by remarkable success in trade and culture; many of the masterpieces of Islamic Iberia were constructed in this period, including the famous...

 was gaining power, and began to attack León. Navarre and king Ordoño allied against Abd-al-Rahman but were defeated in Valdejunquera
Battle of Valdejunquera
The Battle of Valdejunquera was a victory for the Islamic Emirate of Córdoba over the Christian armies of the kingdoms of León and Navarre that took place in a valley called Iuncaria in 920 as part of the Córdoban "Campaign of Muez" , which was directed primarily against the southern line of...

, in 920. For the next 80 years, the Kingdom of León suffered civil wars, Moorish attack, internal intrigues and assassinations, and the partial independence of Galicia and Castile, thus delaying the reconquest, and weakening the Christian forces.
It was not until the following century that the Christians started to see their conquests as part of a long-term effort to restore the unity of the Visigothic kingdom.

The only point during this period when the situation became hopeful for Leon was the reign of Ramiro II
Ramiro II of León
Ramiro II , son of Ordoño II, was King of León from 931 until his death. Initially titular king only of a lesser part of Asturias, he gained the crown of León after his brother Alfonso IV abdicated in 931...

. King Ramiro, in alliance with Fernán González of Castile and his retinue of caballeros villanos, defeated the Caliph in Simancas
Battle of Simancas
The Battle of Simancas was a military battle that started on July 19, 939, in the Iberian Peninsula between the troops of the Christian king Ramiro II of León and Muslim caliph Abd al-Rahman III near the walls of the city of Simancas...

 in 939. After this battle, when the Caliph barely escaped with his guard and the rest of the army was destroyed, King Ramiro obtained 12 years of peace, but had to give González the independence of Castile as a payment for his help in the battle. After this defeat, Moorish attacks abated until Almanzor began his campaigns.

It was Alfonso V
Alfonso V of León
Alfonso V , called the Noble, was King of León from 999 to 1028. He was the son of Bermudo II by his second wife Elvira García of Castile. The Abbot Oliva called him "Emperor of Spain"....

 in 1002 who finally regained the control over his domains. Navarre, though attacked by Almanzor, remained.

Kingdom of Castile

Ferdinand I of León
Ferdinand I of León
Ferdinand I , called the Great , was the Count of Castile from his uncle's death in 1029 and the King of León after defeating his brother-in-law in 1037. According to tradition, he was the first to have himself crowned Emperor of Spain , and his heirs carried on the tradition...

 was the leading king of the mid-11th century. He conquered Coimbra
Coimbra
Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the...

 and attacked the taifa
Taifa
In the history of the Iberian Peninsula, a taifa was an independent Muslim-ruled principality, usually an emirate or petty kingdom, though there was one oligarchy, of which a number formed in the Al-Andalus after the final collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in 1031.-Rise:The origins of...

 kingdoms, often demanding the tributes known as parias
Parias
In medieval Spain, parias were a form of tribute paid by the taifas of al-Andalus to the Christian kingdoms of the north...

. Ferdinand's strategy was to continue to demand parias until the taifa was greatly weakened both militarily and financially. He also repopulated the Borders with numerous fueros. Following the Navarrese tradition, on his death in 1064 he divided his kingdom between his sons. His son Sancho II of Castile
Sancho II of Castile
Sancho II , called the Strong, or in Spanish, el Fuerte, was King of Castile and León .He was the eldest son of Ferdinand I of Castile and Sancha of León, the eventual heiress to the Leonese crown...

 wanted to reunite the kingdom of his father and attacked his brothers, with a young noble at his side: Rodrigo Díaz (later known as El Cid Campeador). Sancho was killed in the siege of Zamora by the traitor Bellido Dolfos (also known as Vellido Adolfo) in 1072. His brother Alfonso VI
Alfonso VI of Castile
Alfonso VI , nicknamed the Brave or the Valiant, was King of León from 1065, King of Castile and de facto King of Galicia from 1072, and self-proclaimed "Emperor of all Spain". After the conquest of Toledo he was also self-proclaimed victoriosissimo rege in Toleto, et in Hispania et Gallecia...

 took over León, Castile and Galicia.

Alfonso VI the Brave gave more power to the fueros and repopulated Segovia
Segovia
Segovia is a city in Spain, the capital of Segovia Province in the autonomous community of Castile and León. It is situated north of Madrid, 30 minutes by high speed train. The municipality counts some 55,500 inhabitants.-Etymology:...

, Ávila
Ávila (province)
Ávila is a province of central-western Spain, in the southern part of the autonomous community of Castile and León. It is bordered on the south by the provinces of Toledo and Cáceres, on the west by Salamanca, on the north by Valladolid, and on the east by Segovia and Madrid. Ávila has a...

 and Salamanca
Salamanca
Salamanca is a city in western Spain, in the community of Castile and León. Because it is known for its beautiful buildings and urban environment, the Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is the most important university city in Spain and is known for its contributions to...

. Then, once he had secured the Borders, King Alfonso conquered the powerful Taifa kingdom of Toledo
Taifa of Toledo
The taifa of Toledo was a Muslim medieval kingdom located in what is now central Spain. It existed from the fracturing of the long-eminent Muslim Caliphate of Córdoba in 1035 until the Christian conquest in 1085.-History:...

 in 1085. Toledo
Toledo, Spain
Toledo's Alcázar became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.-Economy:...

, which was the former capital of the Visigoths, was a very important landmark, and the conquest made Alfonso renowned throughout the Christian world. However, this "conquest" was conducted rather gradually, and mostly peacefully, during the course of several decades. It was not until after sporadic and consistent population resettlements had taken place that Toledo was decisively conquered. Alfonso VI was first and foremost a tactful monarch who chose to understand the kings of taifa and employed unprecedented diplomatic measures to attain political feats before considering the use of force. He adopted the title Imperator totius Hispaniae
Imperator totius Hispaniae
Imperator totius Hispaniae is a Latin title meaning "Emperor of all Spain". In Spain in the Middle Ages, the title "emperor" was used under a variety of circumstances from the ninth century onwards, but its usage peaked, as a formal and practical title, between 1086 and 1157...

("Emperor of all Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

", referring to all the Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula, and not just the modern country of Spain). Alfonso's more aggressive policy towards the Taifas worried the rulers of those kingdoms, who called on the African Almoravids for help.

Kingdom of Navarre

The Kingdom of Pamplona was the second Christian great power in the Iberian Peninsula. Although relatively weak up until the early 11th century where it peaked under the Sancho III (1004–1035), Navarre took upon a dominant Christian role after the late 9th century. The Kingdom of Pamplona (after 12th century, Navarre), was a European kingdom which occupied lands on either side of the Pyrenees alongside the Atlantic Ocean.

The kingdom was formed when local leader Íñigo Arista was elected or declared King in Pamplona (traditionally in 824) and led a revolt against the regional Frankish authority.

Throughout early history of the Navarrese kingdom, there were frequent skirmishes with the Carolingian Empire, and their fierce spirit of independence was the key feature in their history that helped them maintain independence until 1513. The reign of Sancho the Great not only expanded their dominions when they absolved Castile, Leon, and what was to be Aragon in addition to other small counties which would also unite and become the Principality of Catalonia, but it helped form the Galician independence. The conquest of Leon did not consume Galicia, as the Leonese king retreated and was left to temporary independence. Galicia was conquered soon after (it was conquered by Sancho's son Ferdinand around 1038) however this small period of independence meant that it was fashioned as its own kingdom and the subsequent kings named their titles as king of Galicia and León, instead of merely king of León, even though Galicia was never to be independent again.

Christian In-fighting

The quest against the Moors did not keep the Christian kingdoms from battling among themselves or allying with Muslim kings. Some Moorish kings had Christian-born wives or mothers.

Also some Christian champions like El Cid
El Cid
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar , known as El Cid Campeador , was a Castilian nobleman, military leader, and diplomat...

 were contracted by Taifa
Taifa
In the history of the Iberian Peninsula, a taifa was an independent Muslim-ruled principality, usually an emirate or petty kingdom, though there was one oligarchy, of which a number formed in the Al-Andalus after the final collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in 1031.-Rise:The origins of...

 kings to fight against their neighbours. Indeed, El Cid
El Cid
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar , known as El Cid Campeador , was a Castilian nobleman, military leader, and diplomat...

's first battle experience was gained fighting for a Muslim state against a Christian state, at the Battle of Graus
Battle of Graus
The Battle of Graus was a battle of the Reconquista, traditionally said to have taken place on 8 May 1063. Antonio Ubieto Arteta, in his Historia de Aragón, re-dated the battle to 1069. The late twelfth-century Chronica naierensis dates the encounter to 1070...

 in 1063, where he and other Castilians fought on the side of al-Muqtadir
Ahmad al-Muqtadir
Ahmad ibn Sulayman al-Muqtadir was a member of the Banu Hud family who ruled the Islamic taifa of Zaragoza, in what is now Spain, from 1049 to 1082. He was the son of the previous ruler, Al-Mustain I, Sulayman ibn Hud al-Judhami.-References:*...

, Muslim sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 of Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

, against the forces of Ramiro I of Aragon
Ramiro I of Aragon
Ramiro I was de facto the first King of Aragon from 1035 until his death. Apparently born before 1007, he was the illegitimate son of Sancho III of Navarre by his mistress Sancha de Aybar...

. There is even an instance of a Crusade being declared against another Christian king in Spain. Following the disastrous defeat of Alfonso VIII, King of Castile
Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It emerged as a political autonomous entity in the 9th century. It was called County of Castile and was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region...

, at Alarcos
Battle of Alarcos
Battle of Alarcos , was a battle between the Almohads led by Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur and King Alfonso VIII of Castile. It resulted in the defeat of the Castilian forces and their subsequent retreat to Toledo whereas the Almohads conquered back Trujillo, Montánchez and Talavera.-Background:In...

, Kings Alfonso IX, of Kingdom of León
Kingdom of León
The Kingdom of León was an independent kingdom situated in the northwest region of the Iberian Peninsula. It was founded in AD 910 when the Christian princes of Asturias along the northern coast of the peninsula shifted their capital from Oviedo to the city of León...

, and Sancho VII, of Navarre
Kingdom of Navarre
The Kingdom of Navarre , originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a European kingdom which occupied lands on either side of the Pyrenees alongside the Atlantic Ocean....

, entered an alliance with the Almohads and invaded Castile in 1196. By the end of the year Sancho VII had dropped out of the war under Papal pressure. Early in 1197, at the request of Sancho I
Sancho I of Portugal
Sancho I , nicknamed the Populator , second monarch of Portugal, was born on 11 November 1154 in Coimbra and died on 26 March 1212 in the same city. He was the second but only surviving legitimate son and fourth child of Afonso I of Portugal by his wife, Maud of Savoy. Sancho succeeded his father...

, King of Portugal, Pope Celestine III declared a Crusade against Alfonso IX, and released his subjects from their responsibilities to the king, declaring "the men of his realm shall be absolved from their fidelity and his dominion by authority of the apostolic see." Together the Kings of Portugal, Castile, and Aragon
Kingdom of Aragon
The Kingdom of Aragon was a medieval and early modern kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day autonomous community of Aragon, in Spain...

 invaded León. In the face of this onslaught combined with pressure from the Pope, Alfonso IX was finally forced to sue for peace in October 1197.

In the late years of Al-Andalus, Castile had the might to conquer the remains of the kingdom of Granada
Granada
Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

, but the kings preferred to claim the tribute of the Muslim parias
Parias
In medieval Spain, parias were a form of tribute paid by the taifas of al-Andalus to the Christian kingdoms of the north...

. The trade of Granadan goods and the parias were a major means by which African gold entered medieval Europe.

Christian repopulation of the Iberian Peninsula

The Reconquista was a process not only of war and conquest, but also repopulation. Christian kings took their own people to locations abandoned by the Berbers, in order to have a population capable of defending the borders. The main repopulation areas were the Douro
Douro
The Douro or Duero is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at Porto...

 Basin (the northern plateau), the high Ebro
Ebro
The Ebro or Ebre is one of the most important rivers in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the biggest river by discharge volume in Spain.The Ebro flows through the following cities:*Reinosa in Cantabria.*Miranda de Ebro in Castile and León....

 valley (La Rioja
La Rioja (Spain)
La Rioja is an autonomous community and a province of northern Spain. Its capital is Logroño. Other cities and towns in the province include Calahorra, Arnedo, Alfaro, Haro, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, and Nájera.-History:...

) and central Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

.

The repopulation of the Douro
Douro
The Douro or Duero is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at Porto...

 Basin took place in two distinct phases. North of the river, between the 9th and 10th centuries, the "pressure" (or presura) system was employed. South of the Douro
Douro
The Douro or Duero is one of the major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula, flowing from its source near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province across northern-central Spain and Portugal to its outlet at Porto...

, in the 10th and 11th centuries, the presura led to the "charters" (forais
Foral
thumb|left|200px|Foral of Castro Verde - PortugalThe word foral derives from the Portuguese word foro, ultimately from Latin forum, equivalent to Spanish fuero, Galician foro, Catalan furs and Basque foru ....

or fueros). Fueros were used even south of the Central Range.

The presura referred to a group of peasants who crossed the mountains and settled in the abandoned lands of the Duero Basin. Asturian laws promoted this system with laws, for instance granting a peasant all the land he was able to work and defend as his own property. Of course, Asturian and Galician minor nobles and clergymen sent their own expeditions with the peasants they maintained. This led to very feudalised areas, such as León
León (province)
León is a province of northwestern Spain, in the northwestern part of the autonomous community of Castile and León.About one quarter of its population of 500,200 lives in the capital, León. The weather is cold and dry during the winter....

 and Portugal, whereas Castile, an arid land with vast plains and harsh climate only attracted peasants with no hope in Biscay. As a consequence, Castile was governed by a single count, but had a largely mostly non-feudal territory with many free peasants. Presuras also appear in Catalonia, when the count of Barcelona ordered the Bishop of Urgell and the count of Gerona to repopulate the plains of Vic
Vic
Vic is the capital of the comarca of Osona, in the Barcelona Province, Catalonia, Spain. Vic's location, only 69 km far from Barcelona and 60 km from Girona, has made it one of the most important towns in central Catalonia.-History:...

.

During the 10th century and onwards, cities and towns gained more importance and power, as commerce reappeared and the population kept growing. Fuero
Fuero
Fuero , Furs , Foro and Foru is a Spanish legal term and concept.The word comes from Latin forum, an open space used as market, tribunal and meeting place...

s
were charter
Charter
A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified...

s documenting the privileges and usages given to all the people repopulating a town. The fueros provided a means of escape from the feudal system, as fueros were only granted by the monarch. As a result, the town council was dependent on the monarch alone and had to help their lord (auxilium). The military force of the towns became the caballeros villanos. The first fuero was given by count Fernán González to the inhabitants of Castrojeriz in the 940 s. The most important towns of medieval Iberia had fueros or foros. In Navarre, fueros were the main repopulating system. Later on, in the 12th century, Aragon also employed the system; for example, the fuero of Teruel
Teruel
Teruel is a town in Aragon, eastern Spain, and the capital of Teruel Province. It has a population of 34,240 in 2006 making it one of the least populated provincial capitals in the country...

, which was one of the last fueros, in the early 13th century.

From the mid-13th century on no more charters were granted, as the demographic pressure had disappeared and other means of repopulation were created. While presuras allowed Castile to have the only nonfeudal peasants in Europe other than Scandinavians
Scandinavians
Scandinavians are a group of Germanic peoples, inhabiting Scandinavia and to a lesser extent countries associated with Scandinavia, and speaking Scandinavian languages. The group includes Danes, Norwegians and Swedes, and additionally the descendants of Scandinavian settlers such as the Icelandic...

 and Frisians
Frisians
The Frisians are a Germanic ethnic group native to the coastal parts of the Netherlands and Germany. They are concentrated in the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen and, in Germany, East Frisia and North Frisia, that was a part of Denmark until 1864. They inhabit an area known as Frisia...

, fueros remained as city charters until the 18th century in Aragon, Valencia and Catalonia and until the 19th century in Castile and Navarre. Fueros had an immense importance for those living under them, who were prepared to go to war to defend their rights under the charter. In the 1800s the abolition of the fueros in Navarre would be one of the causes of the Carlist Wars
Carlist Wars
The Carlist Wars in Spain were the last major European civil wars in which contenders fought to establish their claim to a throne. Several times during the period from 1833 to 1876 the Carlists — followers of Infante Carlos and his descendants — rallied to the cry of "God, Country, and King" and...

. In Castile disputes over the system contributed to the war against Charles I (Castilian War of the Communities
Castilian War of the Communities
The Revolt of the Comuneros was an uprising by citizens of Castile against the rule of Charles V and his administration between 1520 and 1521. At its height, the rebels controlled the heart of Castile, ruling the cities of Valladolid, Tordesillas, and Toledo.The revolt occurred in the wake of...

).

Fall of the Caliphate

The 9th century saw the Berbers return to Africa in the aftermath of their revolts. During this period, many governors of large cities distant from the capital (Córdoba) planned to establish their independence. Then, in 929 the Emir of Córdoba (Abd-ar-Rahman III
Abd-ar-Rahman III
Abd-ar-Rahman III was the Emir and Caliph of Córdoba of the Ummayad dynasty in al-Andalus. Called al-Nasir li-Din Allah , he ascended the throne in his early 20s, and reigned for half a century as the most powerful prince of Iberia...

), the leader of the Umayyad dynasty, declared himself Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

, independent from the Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

s in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. He took all the military, religious and political power and reorganised the army and the bureaucracy.

After regaining control over the dissident governors, Abd-ar-Rahman III tried to conquer the remaining Christian kingdoms of the Iberian peninsula, attacking them several times and forcing them back beyond the Cantabric range. His Christian subjects were largely left in peace, however.

Christian political forces then accused Abd-ar-Rahman III
Abd-ar-Rahman III
Abd-ar-Rahman III was the Emir and Caliph of Córdoba of the Ummayad dynasty in al-Andalus. Called al-Nasir li-Din Allah , he ascended the throne in his early 20s, and reigned for half a century as the most powerful prince of Iberia...

 of pederasty
Pederasty
Pederasty or paederasty is an intimate relationship between an adult and an adolescent boy outside his immediate family. The word pederasty derives from Greek "love of boys", a compound derived from "child, boy" and "lover".Historically, pederasty has existed as a variety of customs and...

 with a Christian boy who was later canonized Saint Pelagius of Cordova
Pelagius of Cordova
Saint Pelagius of Cordova is said to have been a Christian boy left by his uncle at the age of ten as a hostage with the Caliph Abd-ar-Rahman III of al-Andalus, in trade for a clerical relative previously captured by the Moors, the bishop Hermoygius. The exchange never occurred and Pelagius...

 for his refusal of Abd-ar-Rahman's advances. As part of a pattern of portraying Islamic morality as inferior, the story provided political strength and popular support to the Reconquista for centuries.

Later Abd-ar-Rahman's grandson became a puppet in the hands of the great Vizier
Vizier
A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

 Almanzor
Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir
Abu Aamir Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abi Aamir, Al-Hajib Al-Mansur , better known as Almanzor, was the de facto ruler of Muslim Al-Andalus in the late 10th to early 11th centuries. His rule marked the peak of power for Moorish Iberia.-Origins:He was born Muhammad Ibn Abi Aamir, into a noble Arab...

 (al-Mansur, "the victorious"). Almanzor waged several campaigns attacking and sacking Burgos, Leon, Pamplona, Barcelona and Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain.The city's Cathedral is the destination today, as it has been throughout history, of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James...

 before his death in 1002.

Between Almanzor's death and 1031, Al-Andalus suffered many civil wars which ended in the appearance of the Taifa Kingdoms
Taifa
In the history of the Iberian Peninsula, a taifa was an independent Muslim-ruled principality, usually an emirate or petty kingdom, though there was one oligarchy, of which a number formed in the Al-Andalus after the final collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in 1031.-Rise:The origins of...

. The taifas were small kingdoms, established by the city governors establishing their long wished-for independence. The result was many (up to 34) small kingdoms each centered upon their capital, and the governors, not subscribing to any larger-scale vision of the Moorish presence, had no qualms about attacking their neighbouring kingdoms whenever they could gain advantage by doing so. This split into the taifa
Taifa
In the history of the Iberian Peninsula, a taifa was an independent Muslim-ruled principality, usually an emirate or petty kingdom, though there was one oligarchy, of which a number formed in the Al-Andalus after the final collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in 1031.-Rise:The origins of...

 states caused Islamic presence to be greatly weakened in the face of the strengthening Christian kingdoms to the north. When Alfonso VI brought Toledo under his authority in 1085. Mortified by the concept of being surrounded by the enemy taifa rulers sent a desperate appeal to the Berber chieftain Yusuf b. Tashufinleader of the Almoravids.

The Almoravids

The Almoravids were a Muslim militia, their ranks mainly composed of African and Berber Moors, and unlike the previous Muslim rulers, they were not so tolerant towards Christians and Jews. Their armies entered the Iberian peninsula on several occasions (1086, 1088, 1093) and defeated King Alfonso at the Battle of Sagrajas in 1086, but initially their purpose was to unite all the Taifas into a single Almoravid Caliphate. Their actions halted the southward expansion of the Christian kingdoms. Their only defeat came at Valencia
Valencia (city in Spain)
Valencia or València is the capital and most populous city of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain, with a population of 809,267 in 2010. It is the 15th-most populous municipality in the European Union...

 in 1094, due to the actions of El Cid
El Cid
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar , known as El Cid Campeador , was a Castilian nobleman, military leader, and diplomat...

.

Meanwhile, Navarre lost all importance under King Sancho IV
Sancho IV of Navarre
Sancho IV Garcés , called Sancho of Peñalén or Sancho the Noble, was King of Navarre from 1054 to 1076. He was the eldest son and heir of García Sánchez III and Estefanía....

, for he lost Rioja to Sancho II of Castile
Sancho II of Castile
Sancho II , called the Strong, or in Spanish, el Fuerte, was King of Castile and León .He was the eldest son of Ferdinand I of Castile and Sancha of León, the eventual heiress to the Leonese crown...

, and nearly became the vassal of Aragon. At his death, the Navarrese chose as their king Sancho Ramirez, King of Aragon, who thus became Sancho V of Navarre and I of Aragon. Sancho Ramírez gained international recognition for Aragon, uniting it with Navarre, expanding the borders south, conquering Wasqat Huesca
Huesca
Huesca is a city in north-eastern Spain, within the autonomous community of Aragon. It is also the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and the comarca of Hoya de Huesca....

 deep in the valleys in 1096 and building a fort, El Castellar, 25 km away from Saraqustat Zaragoza
Zaragoza
Zaragoza , also called Saragossa in English, is the capital city of the Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain...

.

Catalonia came under intense pressure from the taifas of Zaragoza and Lérida, and also from internal disputes, as Barcelona suffered a dynastic crisis which led to open war among the smaller counties; but by the 1080s, the situation calmed, and the dominion of Barcelona over the smaller counties was restored.

The Almohads


After a brief period of disintegration (second Taifa
Taifa
In the history of the Iberian Peninsula, a taifa was an independent Muslim-ruled principality, usually an emirate or petty kingdom, though there was one oligarchy, of which a number formed in the Al-Andalus after the final collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba in 1031.-Rise:The origins of...

 period), the rising power in North Africa, the Almohads, took over most of Al-Andalus. But they would be decisively defeated at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa
The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, known in Arab history as the Battle of Al-Uqab , took place on 16 July 1212 and was an important turning point in the Reconquista and in the medieval history of Spain...

 (1212) by a Christian coalition, losing almost all the remaining lands of Al-Andalus in the following decades. By 1252 only the Kingdom of Granada remained as sovereign Muslim state in the Iberian peninsula.

Granada War and the end of Muslim rule in Iberia

Ferdinand and Isabella
Catholic Monarchs
The Catholic Monarchs is the collective title used in history for Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being both descended from John I of Castile; they were given a papal dispensation to deal with...

 completed the Reconquista with a war against the Emirate of Granada
Emirate of Granada
The Emirate of Granada , also known as the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada , was an emirate established in 1238 following the defeat of Muhammad an-Nasir of the Almohad dynasty by an alliance of Christian kingdoms at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212...

 that started in 1482 and ended with Granada's complete annexation in early 1492. The Moors in Castile previously numbered "half a million within the realm." By 1492 some 100,000 had died or been enslaved, 200,000 had emigrated, and 200,000 remained in Castile. Many of the Muslim elite, including Granada's former Emir Muhammad XII, who had been given the area of the Alpujarras
Alpujarras
thumb|250px|A typical Alpujarran village, [[Busquístar]].La Alpujarra is a landlocked historical region in Southern Spain, which stretches south from the Sierra Nevada mountains near Granada in the autonomous community of Andalusia. The western part of the region lies in the province of Granada...

 mountains as a principality, found life under Christian rule intolerable and emigrated to Tlemcen
Tlemcen
Tlemcen is a town in Northwestern Algeria, and the capital of the province of the same name. It is located inland in the center of a region known for its olive plantations and vineyards...

 in North Africa.

Conversions and expulsions

During the Islamic administration, Christians and Jews were allowed to retain their religions by paying a tax
Jizya
Under Islamic law, jizya or jizyah is a per capita tax levied on a section of an Islamic state's non-Muslim citizens, who meet certain criteria...

 (jizya). Penalty for not paying it was death: It was considered as an attack on the supremacy of Islam, and since the tax was for protection from outside invasions, refusal to pay was considered to weaken the empire. Attitudes towards dhimmis were variable, as well. During the time of the Almoravids and especially the Almohad
Almohad
The Almohad Dynasty , was a Moroccan Berber-Muslim dynasty founded in the 12th century that established a Berber state in Tinmel in the Atlas Mountains in roughly 1120.The movement was started by Ibn Tumart in the Masmuda tribe, followed by Abd al-Mu'min al-Gumi between 1130 and his...

s some were treated badly, in contrast to the policies of the earlier Umayyad Caliphs and later Emirs.

The new Christian hierarchy demanded heavy taxes from non-Christians and gave them rights, such as in the Treaty of Granada (1491)
Treaty of Granada (1491)
The Treaty of Granada was signed and ratified on November 25, 1491 between the sultan of Granada, Muhammad XII and Ferdinand and Isabella, the King and Queen of Castile, León, Aragon and Sicily...

 only for Moors in recently Islamic Granada. It expelled the Jews. In 1496 the Alhambra decree
Alhambra decree
The Alhambra Decree was an edict issued on 31 March 1492 by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain ordering the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdom of Spain and its territories and possessions by 31 July of that year.The edict was formally revoked on 16 December 1968, following the Second...

 under Archbishop
Archbishop
An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

 Hernando de Talavera dismissed the Treaty of Granada and now the Muslim population of Granada was forced to convert or be expelled. In 1502, Queen Isabella I declared conversion to Catholicism compulsory within the Kingdom of Castilian. King Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 did the same to Moors in the Kingdom of Aragon in 1526, forcing conversions of its Muslim population during the Revolt of the Germanies. These policies were not only religious in nature but also effectively seized any wealth of the exiled.

Most of the descendants of those Muslims and Jews who submitted to compulsory conversion to Christianity rather than exile during the early periods of the Inquisition, the Moriscos and Conversos respectively, were later expelled from Spain and Portugal
Expulsion of the Moriscos
On April 9, 1609, King Philip III of Spain decreed the Expulsion of the Moriscos . The Moriscos were the descendants of the Muslim population that converted to Christianity under threat of exile from Ferdinand and Isabella in 1502...

 when the Inquisition was at its height. The expulsion was carried out more severely in Eastern Spain (Valencia and Aragon), due to local animosity towards Muslims and Moriscos where they were seen as economic rivals by the citizenry. A major Morisco revolt
Morisco Revolt
The Morisco Revolt , also known as War of Las Alpujarras or Revolt of Las Alpujarras, in what is now Andalusia in southern Spain, was a rebellion against the Crown of Castile by the remaining Muslim converts to Christianity from the Kingdom of Granada.-The defeat of Muslim Spain:In the wake of the...

 happened in 1568, and the final Expulsion of the Moriscos
Expulsion of the Moriscos
On April 9, 1609, King Philip III of Spain decreed the Expulsion of the Moriscos . The Moriscos were the descendants of the Muslim population that converted to Christianity under threat of exile from Ferdinand and Isabella in 1502...

 from Catilan in 1609, and from Aragon
Aragon
Aragon is a modern autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza...

 in 1610.

Because some Muslims and Jews shared ancestors in common with some Christians, it was difficult to expel all of those with any non-Christian ancestors from Castile or Aragon. However the Crowns, with the techniques of the Spanish Inquisition
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

, killed, imprisoned, or expelled the converso
Converso
A converso and its feminine form conversa was a Jew or Muslim—or a descendant of Jews or Muslims—who converted to Catholicism in Spain or Portugal, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. Mass conversions once took place under significant government pressure...

"Morisco
Morisco
Moriscos or Mouriscos , meaning "Moorish", were the converted Christian inhabitants of Spain and Portugal of Muslim heritage. Over time the term was used in a pejorative sense applied to those nominal Catholics who were suspected of secretly practicing Islam.-Demographics:By the beginning of the...

s" and Marrano
Marrano
Marranos were Jews living in the Iberian peninsula who converted to Christianity rather than be expelled but continued to observe rabbinic Judaism in secret...

s
. Those descended from Muslims or Jews practicing at the time of the Reconquista's close were perpetually suspected of various crimes against the Spanish state
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 including continued practice of Islam or Judaism, and any survivors were finally all expelled by the close of the next century.

Classifications and consequences post-Reconquista

The many advances and retreats created several social types:
  • The Muladi
    Muladi
    The Muladi were Muslims of ethnic Iberian descent or of mixed Arab, Berber and European origin, who lived in Al-Andalus during the Middle Ages. They were also called "Musalima" .-Etymology:...

    : Christians who converted to Islam after the arrival of the Moors.
  • The Renegade
    Renegade
    - Games :*Command & Conquer: Renegade, a 2002 first-person shooter video game*Renegade , a 1986 video game*Renegade Legion, a 1990 board game series including the video game Renegade: the Battle for Jacob's Star...

    s: Christian individuals who embraced Islam and often fought against their former compatriots.
  • The Mozarab
    Mozarab
    The Mozarabs were Iberian Christians who lived under Arab Islamic rule in Al-Andalus. Their descendants remained unconverted to Islam, but did however adopt elements of Arabic language and culture...

    s
    : Christians in Muslim-held lands. Some of them migrated to the north of the peninsula in times of persecution bringing elements of the styles, food and agricultural practices learned from the Moors, while they continued practicing their Christianity with older forms of Catholic worship and their own versions of the Latin
    Latin
    Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

     language.
  • The Marrano
    Marrano
    Marranos were Jews living in the Iberian peninsula who converted to Christianity rather than be expelled but continued to observe rabbinic Judaism in secret...

    s
    : Jewish converso
    Converso
    A converso and its feminine form conversa was a Jew or Muslim—or a descendant of Jews or Muslims—who converted to Catholicism in Spain or Portugal, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. Mass conversions once took place under significant government pressure...

    s
    . Jews who either voluntarily or compulsorily converted to Catholicism. Some were Crypto-Jews who continued practicing Judaism
    Judaism
    Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

     secretly. All remaining Jews were expelled from Spain in Treaty of Granada of 1491, and Portugal also. Converso Jews often became victims of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition
    Portuguese Inquisition
    The Portuguese Inquisition was formally established in Portugal in 1536 at the request of the King of Portugal, João III. Manuel I had asked for the installation of the Inquisition in 1515 to fulfill the commitment of marriage with Maria of Aragon, but it was only after his death that the Pope...

    s.
  • The Mudéjar
    Mudéjar
    Mudéjar is the name given to individual Moors or Muslims of Al-Andalus who remained in Iberia after the Christian Reconquista but were not converted to Christianity...

    and Morisco
    Morisco
    Moriscos or Mouriscos , meaning "Moorish", were the converted Christian inhabitants of Spain and Portugal of Muslim heritage. Over time the term was used in a pejorative sense applied to those nominal Catholics who were suspected of secretly practicing Islam.-Demographics:By the beginning of the...

    s
    : Muslim converso
    Converso
    A converso and its feminine form conversa was a Jew or Muslim—or a descendant of Jews or Muslims—who converted to Catholicism in Spain or Portugal, particularly during the 14th and 15th centuries. Mass conversions once took place under significant government pressure...

    s
    . Muslims who were compulsorily converted to Catholicism. Most were Crypto-Muslims who continued practicing Islam secretly. They ranged from successful skilled artisans, valued and protected in Aragon, to impoverished peasants in Castile. After the Alhambra Decree
    Alhambra decree
    The Alhambra Decree was an edict issued on 31 March 1492 by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain ordering the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdom of Spain and its territories and possessions by 31 July of that year.The edict was formally revoked on 16 December 1968, following the Second...

     the entire Islamic population was forced to convert or leave, and within a century most, if not all, were expelled.

Legacy

.
Real, legendary, and fictional episodes from the Reconquista are the subject of much of medieval Galician
Galician literature
Galician language literature is the literature written in Galician. The earliest works in Galician language are from the early 13th-century trovadorismo tradition...

-Portuguese literature
Portuguese literature
This is a survey of Portuguese literature.The Portuguese language was developed gradually from the Vulgar language spoken in the countries which formed part of the Roman Empire and, both in morphology and syntax, it represents an organic transformation of Latin without the direct intervention of...

, Spanish literature
Spanish literature
Spanish literature generally refers to literature written in the Spanish language within the territory that presently constitutes the state of Spain...

, and Catalan literature
Catalan literature
Catalan literature is the name conventionally used to refer to literature written in the Catalan language. The Catalan literary tradition is extensive, starting in the Middle Ages....

, such as the cantar de gesta
Cantar de gesta
A cantar de gesta is the Spanish equivalent of the Old French medieval chanson de geste or "songs of heroic deeds".The most important cantares de gesta of Castile were:...

.

Some noble genealogies
Genealogy
Genealogy is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral traditions, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members...

 show the close relations (although not very numerous) between Muslims and Christians. For example, Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir
Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir
Abu Aamir Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abi Aamir, Al-Hajib Al-Mansur , better known as Almanzor, was the de facto ruler of Muslim Al-Andalus in the late 10th to early 11th centuries. His rule marked the peak of power for Moorish Iberia.-Origins:He was born Muhammad Ibn Abi Aamir, into a noble Arab...

, whose rule is considered to have marked the peak of power for Moorish Al-Andalus Iberia, married Abda, daughter of Sancho Garcés II of Navarra, who bore him a son, named Abd al-Rahman, and commonly known in pejorative sense as Sanchuelo (Little Sancho, in Arabic: Shanjoul). After his father's death, Sanchuelo/Abd al-Rahman, as a son of a Christian princess, was a strong contender to take over the ultimate power in Muslim al-Anadalus. A hundred years later, King Alfonso VI of Castile
Alfonso VI of Castile
Alfonso VI , nicknamed the Brave or the Valiant, was King of León from 1065, King of Castile and de facto King of Galicia from 1072, and self-proclaimed "Emperor of all Spain". After the conquest of Toledo he was also self-proclaimed victoriosissimo rege in Toleto, et in Hispania et Gallecia...

, considered among the greatest of the Medieval Spanish kings, designated as his heir his son (also a Sancho) by the refugee Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 princess Zaida of Seville
Zaida of Seville
Zaida of Seville was a refugee Muslim princess who was a mistress and then perhaps queen of Alfonso VI of Castile.She is said by Iberian Muslim sources to have been the daughter-in-law of Al Mutamid, the Muslim King of Seville, wife of his son Abu al Fatah al Ma'Mun, Emir of Cordoba,...

.

It has also been proposed that the war left the Iberian kingdoms with deep economic crises, leading to the expulsion of the Jews (who had lived in the Iberian Peninsula for over ten centuries) in order to confiscate their funds and property. It can be questioned due to the Portuguese Reconquista that had ended in 1249, and both the Castillian and Portuguese kingdoms that may have begun profiting from maritime expansion along Africa before the Jews and Moors were expelled. The huge wealth from the Americas was still to arrive as Columbus' first voyage and the surrender of Granada were both in 1492.

The Reconquista was a war with long periods of respite between the adversaries, partly for pragmatic reasons, and also due to infighting among the Christian kingdoms of the North spanning over seven centuries. Some populations practiced Islam or Christianity as their own religion during these centuries, so the identity of contenders changed over time.

Earlier Christians fighting the Moors, such as Pelayo, could plausibly be described as natives opposing foreign invasion and conquest; however, by the time most parts of Muslim Iberia were (re)conquered by Christian forces, the Muslim population there was centuries old, and much of it undoubtedly composed of converted Iberians rather than migrants from other Muslim lands. Granada
Granada
Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

 at the time of its conquest in 1492 was as thoroughly Arab and Muslim a city as were Cairo or Damascus at the time.

Moreover, the ease with which the Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula was directly and immediately continued by the exploits of conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

s beyond the Atlantic clearly shows that for Spaniards at the time, conquest of non-Christian territory and its transformation into a Catholic, Spanish-speaking land were legitimate, whether or not a claim of prior possession of the land could be advanced.

Nevertheless, the expression "Reconquista" continues to be used to designate this historical period by most historians and scholars in Spain and Portugal, as well as internationally.

Reconquista recreations in modern Spain

Currently, the festivals of moros y cristianos
Moros y cristianos
Moros y Cristianos or Moros i Cristians literally in English Moors and Christians, is a set of festival activities which are celebrated in many towns and cities of Spain, mainly in the southern Valencian Community; according to popular tradition the festivals commemorate the battles, combats and...

(Castilian), moros i cristians (Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

), mouros e cristãos (Portuguese) and mouros e cristiáns (Galician), these meaning "Moors and Christians", recreate the fights as colorful parades with elaborate garments and lots of fireworks, especially on the central and southern towns of the Land of Valencia, like Alcoi, Ontinyent or Villena
Villena
Villena is a city in Spain, in the Valencian Community. It is located at the northwest part of Alicante, and borders to the west with Castilla-La Mancha and Murcia, to the north with the province of Valencia and to the east and south with the province of Alicante. It is the capital of the comarca...

.

External links

online)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK